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Interactive In-Game Billboards Coming 49

GameDaily is carrying the news that in-game advert company Massive, Inc. is planning to launch interactive in-game billboards. They cite free-but-for-ads MMOG Anarchy Online specifically, but one imagines this technology will be seen in other titles they're licensed for. From the article: "Last week, Funcom and Massive announced a new sort of billboard ad in Anarchy Online. Called 'interactive advertisement technology' this new feature will allow players to do more than just passively look at an ad. Instead, players can interact with the ad and see a more detailed model of the Toyota Yaris, for example."
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Interactive In-Game Billboards Coming

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  • by BlackCobra43 ( 596714 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @01:36PM (#15785480)
    As if we WEREN'T exposed to enough advertising as it is. I'm eagerly awaiting DreamVision(tm) ads for Lightspeed Briefs.
  • Argh, my brain. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by digitrev ( 989335 )
    Interactiviy = good ads? Where did they get this from? When's the last time you punched that monkey? Or zapped the target? With those kind of ads, it just means they'll be more pervasive and invasive. There's a reason I have adblock. It's so I don't have to watch your crappy ads. Bah.
    • maybe the ad is interactive so that in the game you can climb up and deface it... or set it on fire?
    • When's the last time you punched that monkey?

      Why just last ni- oh, wait, you said *punched*. Never mind.

    • When's the last time you punched that monkey? Or zapped the target?

      The last time I saw those ads is... well, never. I disable plug-ins so I won't even waste bandwidth downloading that crap. Takes care of a whole lot of ads, lately...

    • It gets worse... (Score:4, Informative)

      by d3ac0n ( 715594 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @02:43PM (#15786020)
      We have these ads in Planetside. Not only are they disruptive and annoying (They have included ads with SOUND! ARGH!) They are non-destructible. I have seen fights in buildings where an entire wall is COATED in bulletholes and blast marks, but the damn advert and it's frame are squeaky clean!

      Fortunately, there is a way to block them, at least for now. You can modify your HOSTS file in Windows and blackhole the advert servers. This kills off the ad generating process that normally starts with the game, and the ad panels in-game will display a pre-fab neutral background.

      You can find full blocking directions on my blog , http://wearyman.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

      I think that we as gamers need to ensure that we block ads for any pay to play game. Freebie games like AO, ads are OK, it's how the company stays profitable. But for Pay2play games, As we are already paying a subscription fee so the company can make thier profits, there is no reason to subject ourselves to this type of insult.

      Block the ads, and then MAKE SURE the game company KNOWS you are blocking the ads either via e-mail or the game forums. If enough of us make the small effort to prevent the ads, the companies will drop them as unprofitable, and we can get back to pure ad-free gaming.
      • Perhaps the company is using ingame ads to give you the game at a lower cost than it otherwise would need to. /Just sayin'
        • Perhaps the company is using ingame ads to give you the game at a lower cost than it otherwise would need to

          Then you've never played Planetside, or most other Sony games lately. They're using it to gain another revenue stream from their customers while providing the same lack of support they usually do.

          Example:

          Planetside has a bug with Dual Core systems, users have to set affinity on the game manually. This has existed since the first dual core systems hit the market.

          Now, to fix the bug might take a good de
  • Time to go and undig my free AO account to see that new wonder of technology: in-game ads.

    Actually, this is not a bad model at all: at least in a futuristic setting like AO, it fits in nicely. But I'd love to see them try showing ads in a game with a medieval theme... now that'd be a real treat.
    • Actually, this is not a bad model at all: at least in a futuristic setting like AO, it fits in nicely. But I'd love to see them try showing ads in a game with a medieval theme... now that'd be a real treat.

      Just what I need... Billboards next the entance to intances in WoW. "You're next wipe could be prevented if you bought the nVidia 99999934495900 GTX (now with hecta-SLI)"
    • It works really well in other games, too. For instance, sports arenas and racetracks look barren and WRONG without advertising. Putting real ads there helps the publishers AND adds to immersion.

    • But a fairly seamless method of immersion in alternate settings could be done well. I'm not a fantasy gamer, but I'd find it humorous if among the various Inns and Taverns and Groghouses there was a thatch-roofed, stone-walled Burger King with stables in the back where you could pick your cow. Or offer a benefit for the intrusion. In a game like Second Life, if someone manages to suffer through the "interactive" ad for the latest Mercedes E class car, they receive a virtual car. Driving around SL in a f
    • Are you saying that the Toyota Yaris is hundreds (thousands?) of years ahead of its time? Or would it be a retro thing?
  • will the chicks they put in theese ads be better detailed "models" too?
  • Eh.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    1) As long as the ads don't destroy my immersion (Ads for a new Toyota would destroy any immersion in a fantasy genra game like WOW or Dark Age of Camelot, for example) However, I'm not sure what kind of ads would really fit certain genres. I doubt there are enough local RenFests or uber real life Runed Sword of Magma Destruction sword replicas to sustain an ad campaign for DAoC..

    and

    2) In a perfect world such ads should be used to supplement the cost of the game to the end user like a TRUE trade off. I s
    • Epic mount : From Gnomish Mechanics comes the new H3 Steam tank! 20,000 Gold or lease for as little as 399 gold a month! Rated Best Tank three years running by Ratchet-Gadget Daily's prestigious Best Self-Proppeled Anachronic Vehicle!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Ever seen an ad in a subway station and wished that you could interface with it in some way?"

    Yes, I wish I could make it go away.
  • let me wreck them. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @01:45PM (#15785548) Journal
    I hope they don't make them so you can't damage them, I think one of the highlights of ingame advertising is if they allowed you to defile it. Take the McDonald's logo and turn it into a giant pair of eyes of a guy peering over a wall for example. It'd be something intresting and would make me look at it to see what people did to trash it.

    If companies make something untouchable we'll ignore it, if we can play around with it and have some fun then we'll do so and draw people's attenction to it. Yet I know they won't do this because companies will whine if the full advert isn't shown 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

    Maybe one day someone will release a Jet Set Radio MMORPG and they'll let us spray whatever we like and generally have fun just kicking around to cool music. That's the sort of game advertising would work for, but again as I said above companies don't care what works, they use the shotgun effect instead.
    • I'll just wait until my victims are in front of the billboard advertising Subway burgers and then blow them into kibbles. A few well placed meaty chunkss and perhaps a little arterial spray near the picture of some dude chomping on a sub should add to the overall effect of the ad, no? If that doesn't get your attention, perhaps pile up a few dismembered heads near the ad for McDonalds chicken nuggets.
    • I hope they don't make them so you can't damage them, I think one of the highlights of ingame advertising is if they allowed you to defile it. Take the McDonald's logo and turn it into a giant pair of eyes of a guy peering over a wall for example. It'd be something intresting and would make me look at it to see what people did to trash it.

      I agree. Some of the best video game moments are just wrecking stuff or blowing shit up. Think about how when you were little you liked to just punch all the blocks on

    • I hope they don't make them so you can't damage them, I think one of the highlights of ingame advertising is if they allowed you to defile it.

      On which note, I feel obliged to (again) call out certain car companies for their severe case of 'realistic-damage-modelingphobia'... what's the explanation for this again?

      Maybe one day someone will release a Jet Set Radio MMORPG and they'll let us spray whatever we like and generally have fun just kicking around to cool music.

      Shortly after Jet [Set/Grind; pick one]

  • Deja Vu? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Firefly1 ( 251590 )
    I'll have to RTFA later, but from the summary I get the impression that these 'interactive billboards' are not that much different from (parts of) certain websites, such as the aircraft gallery over on the Ace Combat Zero offical website [acecombat.jp]. Worth reiterating at this point are established issues regarding static ingame ads and product placements - that is, they must not be annoyingly intrusive and must fit the gameworld. I can think of very few games where these interactive billboards make any sense... on th
  • Darn. (Score:3, Funny)

    by \\ ( 118555 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @01:49PM (#15785599) Homepage
    I was hoping "interactive" meant I could blow up or otherwise destroy advertising billboards in-game. :(
  • That'll be fun playing the classic re-release of Doom on a billboard advertizing it in Quake 5.....
  • Google is probably working on something that scans your computer and delivers you the advertisements that address your interests based on what kind of software and writing you have on your computer...

    Time to move the pr0n onto DVDs I guess...damn...sux to switch DVDs mid swing though... I need a solution here people!
  • Okay - here's the deal. The developers really don't like it because they want to create games, and advertising just distracts from that. It also limits freedom, since advertisers tend to be pretty demanding and forces the game to be set in the present or near future. The players don't like it, but will probably be reasonably happy with the idea if it makes the game free. The advertisers are fairly neutral about it. They're willing to give it a shot, but if it fails, they're not going to lose sleep over
    • Tony Hawk uses extensive advertising in the game, however it fits the game 100%
      • True. It works in sports games. It actually works pretty well anywhere there's a billboard space to fill. Developers really shouldn't let the advertisers call the shots though. If they want to put their ads in the game, then great. Supply the artwork to use as a texture, and outbid everyone else who wants their ad. Don't sacrifice the integrity of the game to score some extra money. The people who buy the game will feel cheated.
        • Actually in tony hawk they use a lot of brands for gear which is totally legit and makes the game more realistic than having a bunch of really fake names.

          That is probably the best use of advertising in game.

          Why dont gun manufacturers jump on the bandwagon, "I didnt kill that guy with an gun, I shot him in the kneck with a Desert Eagle Point 5 0"

  • Even if they were fake you could:
    * shoot them
    * kick them
    * drive your car into them ...

    I wonder if they are going to measure in-game violence against the in-game ads.
  • So, will mmorpgs set up a more expensive subscription that will block ads such as some websites do or will everyone be force fed advertisements?
    So how long till someone makes a adblock plugin for each mmorpg?
  • If by 'interactive' they mean 'can be blown up', then rock on, I say.
  • "a tremendous step forward in terms of giving advertisers what they want"

    Yes, giving advertisers what THEY want, access to a specific demographic, not what that specific demographic might actually want, that's not very relevant to this dicussion.

    "But what does it mean for advertisers? And how will players react? We sat down with Terri Perkins, Product Manager for Funcom, and Nicholas Longano, President of New Media at Massive, to find out."

    Hold onto your hat, here comes the marketing SPINNNNN!

    "the response
    • You make it too complicated. Here's a more accurate breakdown:

      "a tremendous step forward in terms of giving advertisers what they want" I'm lying. "But what does it mean for advertisers? And how will players react? We sat down with Terri Perkins, Product Manager for Funcom, and Nicholas Longano, President of New Media at Massive, to find out." I'm lying. "the response to these ads has been very positive, according to Perkins and Longano" I'm lying. "This is the beginning of a new revolution in in g
  • At what point the interactive ad becomes a virtual web browser???
  • Juuust lovely. Here I am, flying a space ship through an asteroid stream, approaching the orbital space station of a small planet around a foreign sun, and... see an ad for a Toyota. Talk about falling out of context!

    And yes, I hate adverts - primary reason for refusing TVs and radios.

    Thus: If I ever hear of a game containing adverts in any form or shape - I will not buy that game. My word on it.
  • Con's:
    • impacts game performance/throughput
    • detracts from the game
    • wastes developer time to create, alter or maintain the ads
    • 99% chance it's an advertisement for something I do not need or want

    Pro's:

    • ...
    • ...
    • ...

    Sorry, I'm drawing a blank. Some might say that getting the game for free or discounted due to the ads is a positive, but I see that as a tradeoff. If the game can be funded by the lesser income of advertisements as opposed to the greater income of subscriptions, I'd wager the game isn't w

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